Red Eye Chicago

Hollywood breeds weight issues

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According to experts, true anorexia nervosa affects only 0.5 percent of the female population, but the spectrum of eating disorders is believed to afflict 3 percent to 5 percent. University of California, Los Angeles professor Michael Strober, an expert in the field who has dealt with a raft of Hollywood figures, says that for anyone with a predisposi­tion to eating disorders, coming to Hollywood is like a drunk trying to live inside a bar—extremely challengin­g.

Characteri­stics of anorexics include fear of change, difficulty with self expression, a need for order and routine, and a strong need to accommodat­e.

“That temperamen­t is a challenge for people who exist in the industry,” Strober said.

Bulimics too exhibit the extreme insecurity and selfdoubt that make Hollywood a rough environmen­t, Strober said, but there’s “more compulsivi­ty, more obsessiona­l concern with detail. They feel very, very needy, and they crave attention and are very appetitive­ly oriented. They need cigarettes. They need alcohol.”

To put it mildly, no one in Hollywood is looking out for these women.

“It’s just, ‘Can you get to the next audition?’ ” Strober said. “If somebody has this illness, once they start to lose weight, they’re on this slope that’s very slip-

a pery. It’s like an alcoholic who continues to have drink here or there.”

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